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How Long Do Roofing Battens Last

how long do roofing battens last

The life expectancy of roofing battens can vary depending on many factors.

Battens are made from a variety of materials, so the type you choose will have an impact on how long they last.

For example, steel battens are generally more durable than aluminum ones.

If your home is new and has never had any major leaks, you could expect to use your battens for 30 years or longer before needing to replace them.

What are Roofing Battens?

Roofing battens are long wooden strips that are mainly used for roofing. These battens can be made of different kinds of wood, but pine or cedar are the most common choices.

The length of a single batten is roughly equal to its width, while their thickness is usually around 2 cm.

The name “batten” is derived from the French word ‘battre’ which means “to beat.”

In modern architecture, this term refers to a strip of wood used either as a spacer between two layers of shingles or boards during roofing, or as an element in panel cladding and the like.

It’s also applied for spacing and gap filling purposes in a wall, flooring and ceilings.

beautiful wooden batten

What is their purpose?

Roofing battens perform a couple of important functions:

  • They ensure wind can’t get underneath your roof while making sure the weight of the shingles won’t break through it;
  • They add strength to the structure;
  • And by creating air pockets that push the hot air up and away from your attic, they increase the effectiveness of your insulation.

How long do roofing battens last?

This is a question that is often asked by many homeowners.

Although it’s not always easy to determine how long battens will last, there are signs that you can look for when determining the lifespan of your current roof.

Roofing battens are usually very durable pieces of wood, but they do require upkeep to make sure they serve you for as long as possible.

After installation, it’s advised to keep them painted at all times, and every three to four years they should be taken down and replaced.

If you are curious about whether or not this is something worth checking out, here are three specific signs that will have your attention.

1. The Overall Look of Your Roof

The overall look of your roof is one thing that you should keep an eye on, especially if it’s already looking a little too old for comfort.

Battens are typically placed under shingles, which makes them susceptible to the weather elements over time. 

If they are exposed outside of these shingles, they are also more likely to be exposed to the elements.

If you notice that your roof has lost most of its color or is looking a bit worn down, then it might be time to check for any damage that may have resulted from your battens being outside of shingles.

Roof batten under sky

2. The Quality of the Material

If you have been using the same brand of roofing material to complete your roof, then keeping an eye out for poor quality may not be a bad idea.

Battens will wear away at different rates depending on what type of material they are made from and if you’re noticing that they aren’t looking as good as they used to, then it might be time to replace them.

3. The Amount of Cracks

As mentioned in the previous link, battens are commonly used under shingles.

As they wear away over time, it is common for them to develop cracks that will interfere with your roof’s overall look and strength.

If you notice any cracks, whether they are small or large, it’s probably time to replace them.

There are always signs that indicate when it is time to have your battens replaced with new ones, so if you notice any of the above mentioned signs, contact a roofing contractor immediately.


In general, roofing battens will last for a couple of years. When it comes to determining how long a specific batten will last, you have to consider many factors.

It’s impossible to give an exact answer as the life of a batten varies by region, construction method and material types.

If you want to set up the right expectations and know what to expect, we recommend getting in touch with a roofing contractor or inspector.

They will be able to do an inspection and give you exact recommendations on how much longer your roof will last and how much it should cost to repair it.

Roof ceramic tile arranged in packets on the roof on roof battens. Preparation for laying roof tiles.